America and the Value of ‘Earned Success’

I learned to appreciate the American free enterprise system by quitting a job in Spain.

At age 19, I dropped out of school to pursue a career as a French horn player. After a few twists and turns, I wound up in the Barcelona Symphony, which was a Spanish government job.

Even as a foreigner, I had the same lifetime work status as a clerk at the water department. Nobody ever left these jobs, except with lavish disability packages. (One colleague who injured his lips moonlighting at a dance-hall gig ended up spending the next 20 years collecting a full salary to stay home.)

I loved music—but the life of a government functionary wasn’t my cup of tea. And so my Spanish wife and I decided to pull up stakes and start over in America. Neither of us had a college degree, and my wife’s English was limited. Arthur C. Brooks – Wall Street Journal – Click To Read More

Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise,” published this week by Basic Books.